The Sum of Us examines the relationship between a father and son and the other relationships they form. Harry Mitchell (Jack Thompson) is a beer-drinking widower who lives with his gay son Jeff (Russell Crowe), also a beer-drinker, who works as a plumber and plays rugby in his spare time.
Both are in search of love, Harry for his Ms Right and Jeff for his Mr Right. Harry is very comfortable with his son’s sexuality and is somewhat over-keen and annoying in his support of Jeff’s search for a boyfriend. Harry meets a divorcee, Joyce (Deborah Kennedy) via a dating service but when she finds out Harry has a gay son, her judgemental attitude creates friction. Further complications ensue when Jeff falls for a gardener (John Polson) who is not yet out of the closet.
Tragedy then strikes, when Harry suffers a stroke, losing his ability to speak, and the film then focuses on the father and son relationship and the relationships with the objects of their affections. The main theme of The Sum of Us is that of friendship between two men and the film leads to a conclusion that the strongest relationship in Harry and Jeff’s life is their own father and son bond.
“As adapted by David Stevens from his own play, it alternates proud, obvious declarations of principle with flippant father-son banter.”
— Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“This is a captivating and remarkably acted film which treats homosexuality as an everyday fact of life. The Sum of Us is very funny because audiences are unaccustomed to seeing a father and son speak so frankly about gay sexual concerns.”
— Michael D. Klemm, QueerCinema.com
“Audiences, straight and gay, should respond to the honesty and warmth of the father-son relationship depicted here, bringing the modestly scaled production positive word of mouth.”
— David Stratton, Variety
Did You Know?
“A surprising comedy of love” is the tagline attributed to The Sum of Us by Australia Theatrical. Co-director Kevin Dowling made his cinematic debut with The Sum of Us with the screenplay being written by David Stevens adapted from his own earlier stage play. The film grossed an impressive $3,827,456 at the Australian box office. Review our Gay Themed Films Here